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Old 01-30-2006, 08:49 PM   #1
jeffg
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Default Munich Helles

Confessions of a home brewer #501:

OK, so I racked my Munich Helles this weekend after two weeks in the primary. SG was 1.008, which is great, it is clear with a real nice color just slightly darker than straw. Aroma was, well, a little thin, which I mainly attribute to this German lager yeast I am using for the first time and I'm not really used to lager yeasts generally. So obviously I taste it--and it kind of tastes like a flat budweiser. Now, I don't panic, it's only two weeks old and has many many weeks of conditioning to look forward to in the secondary and the keg.

However, it suddenly hit me that I really have no idea what an authentic Munich Helles should even taste like. I have never been to Munich and don't recall drinking any commercially--I brewed this because I liked the description and wanted to try something different. I actually brewed this beer before about 9 years ago, but that was a half extract with a dry yeast and I had to substitute some grains and it came out nothing like this one...

Oddly enough, today I have lunch in the last remaining german bar in the city and what is on tap: Hoffbreau Munich original. I am obliged to get one and surprisingly, it looks and tastes pretty much exactly like my beer did, although carbonated and more finished---but the recipe appears to be dead on. Now for the confession--it is not my favorite beer (especially when they had Spatan lager and Optimator on tap). It's a little thin on the hops for my taste and I expected it to be a tad bit spicier--I am undecided on the maltiness at this point since that may round out.

Now, in six weeks i could love this beer and it could be the best lagar i've ever made--I know better than to jump to conclusions early, but I am thinking of dry-hopping it to spice it up a little. What do you guys think--leave it in its authentic form and reap what I have sewn, or jazz it up while I still can?

I feel like a dumb*ss, in a Jonny Damon kind of way

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Old 01-30-2006, 08:53 PM   #2
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nah, i brew beer styles all the time that i have never had before (mainly because i don't travel internationaly and will never ever get a chance to tastethe real version!). we just do our best.

try this link for a BJCP of the helles and it's characteristics, commercial examples, ingredients, etc.

http://www.bjcp.org/styles04/Category1.html#style1D

it's even harder when you do a lager because you have to wait so long to tap into it and see how it came out!!!

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Old 01-30-2006, 09:42 PM   #3
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Well there you go--I did not even know Spaten was technically a Helles . Guess I never thought about it. My recipe called for 16 IBUs and my guess is Spaten has closer to 22. The Hoffbreau I had today was not as crisp and had less bite than a Spaten, but then again it was on tap and who knows how old it was. I have not had a Paulner in ages.

I think I'll test mine again in three weeks and then maybe add a small amount of dryhops before kegging if the spirit moves me.

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Old 01-30-2006, 10:25 PM   #4
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I'm a big fan of Bavarian style beers in Germany, These were also the beers I liked the most when I was back in Germany because they go lighter on the Hops. Right now I have 3 different Bavarian styles in my cellar (fermentation fridege that is).

Here in the US (especially in the North East) you should be able to get at least Paulaner and Spaten helles. When I compared their taste I prefered one over the other. I don't remeber which (will have to look at my notes). The one I preferred more had more hop aroma.

And yes, this style of beer is actually closest to Bud than most of the other beer styles. But it's still significantly different.


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Old 02-01-2006, 09:21 PM   #5
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hey guy's, i just got back from my local liquor warehouse and picked up a sixer of Hacker-Pschorr Munich Edelhell. very good! a tad malty, little hop presence, not much head, but a thin lace of foam around the glass as it goes down. will go great w/ my steamed mussels tonight!!!! give that one a whirl and tell me what ya think!

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Old 02-02-2006, 02:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeRoux's Broux
hey guy's, i just got back from my local liquor warehouse and picked up a sixer of Hacker-Pschorr Munich Edelhell.
Dam'n. I wish I had a place like this near by . I'm lucky If I can find Spaten and Paulaner Helles.

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Old 02-02-2006, 02:33 PM   #7
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it was new to our store. they had a H-P helles and Octoberfest that i hadn't seen before. it's not a big beer, or hoppy, but a good pils for quaffing.

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Old 02-02-2006, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffg
I think I'll test mine again in three weeks and then maybe add a small amount of dryhops before kegging if the spirit moves me.
I'd say, try a hop tea instead. Dry hopping will not increase bitterness or hop flavor. It only gives you additional aroma which you may not be after in this case.

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Old 02-02-2006, 03:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai
Dam'n. I wish I had a place like this near by . I'm lucky If I can find Spaten and Paulaner Helles.

Kai
Have you tried Whole Foods? They've really expanded their selection recently and probably would be willing to stock some special requests (though I've never asked).
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Old 02-02-2006, 04:01 PM   #10
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If I could turn back the clock I'd add more bittering hops, but I am a little leary of trying a hop tea--mainly because I think the beer may round out in a month. I thought dry-hopping with tettnanger, hallertau or even saaz might just add a little more hop perception/aroma. To be honest, this is the most lightly hopped beer I have ever made (less than two oz. total) and I am a hop head by nature.

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